The New Orleans Saints appeared to be winners on Sunday with the San Francisco 49ers losing, however, that loss ultimately doesn’t really matter.
The New Orleans Saints lost the first seed in the NFC in Week 14 after the team was beaten in a shootout against the San Francisco 49ers. The loss practically forces the Saints to win out the rest of the year and the team will still need some help to even get a first-round bye.
It appeared as if the Saints received that help on Sunday as the San Francisco 49ers were shockingly defeated by the same team that shockingly defeated the Saints earlier in the season, the Atlanta Falcons.
Just like they did with the Saints, the Falcons went on the road to the 49ers and took it to them, giving them a shocking third loss that moved them from the first seed all the way down to the fifth seed.
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This seems like a crucial loss for the 49ers that could impact the outcome of the seeding in the NFC. However, in all honesty, this loss does not really do anything for the 49ers or the Saints, as the season will come down to the last week regardless.
The 49ers square off against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17, which is ultimately the deciding factor for how the NFC will shake out. The Seahawks currently had the advantage with the one head-to-head win over the 49ers, although they have the same record.
Even if the 49ers had just two losses instead of three heading into Week 17 the outcome would have been the same then as it would be now that they had three losses. The winner of the game would win the NFC West and would affect the seeding atop the NFC.
Because if the Seahawks beat a two-loss 49ers team, assuming they also win in Week 16, then they would have both finished with three losses with Seattle owning the tiebreaker. If Seattle wins now then they will win the division, also with three losses.
Either way, the Saints are behind the 49ers with the tiebreaker. The 49ers can still win out, finish 13-3 and finish as the top seed in the NFC because of tiebreaker wins over the Green Bay Packers and Saints.
This loss does not change that unless the team ties with the Seahawks, which would really throw a wrench in everything.
In fact, the outcome that effected the Saints the most was the Packers win over the Chicago Bears. If the Packers win out then they will automatically be seeded higher than the Saints because of a better conference record.
A Green Bay loss would have made things much easier in getting a first-round bye. Now, there is even a greater chance of the Saints not even getting a first-round bye if the 49ers and Packers can win their last two games each.
So while it feels like the New Orleans Saints gained ground, in the grand scheme, they really didn’t. It will shake the seeding up for the time being, but ultimately, it all comes down to Week 16, unless the 49ers lose next week as well.